Home > Services > Bariatric Services > Considering Surgery > Obesity Epidemic Services Obesity Epidemic The Problem of Obesity Obesity is a chronic disease affecting approximately 1 in 4 Americans. Obesity is considered the second leading cause of preventable death and disease in our country. It is second only to smoking. Obesity is strongly related to metabolic conditions such as type II diabetes, as well as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems, depression, and many other conditions. Health-related problems negatively impact quality of life and often lifespan. Causes of obesity are complicated, but certainly a mixture of genetic, physiologic, behavioral/habit and cultural influences play a role. Approximately 10-15 million Americans are morbidly obese, and 31 million have Type II Diabetes Mellitus. The term morbid obesity (or severe obesity) is a condition where the obesity is of sufficient severity that it dramatically increases the risk for associated diseases, disability and premature death. The National Institute of Health states weight loss surgery may be an option for well-informed and motivated patients who meet the following criteria: Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 40. Or a BMI > 35 with serious associated (co-morbid) medical conditions. The Solution: The Experts in Bariatric Surgery Meet the Experts in Bariatric Surgery. We invite you to attend free Memorial Bariatric Services seminar to learn more. Our seminars are held at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois and other locations throughout Central Illinois. For the morbidly obese patient, non-surgical treatments for weight loss (diet, exercise, behavioral modification) tend to be very modest (loss of 5-10% of excess weight is typical) and short term (95% of morbidly obese patients re-gain the lost weight within five years). For those with morbid obesity, bariatric surgery offers a more effective treatment for long term and substantial weight loss. Weight loss after bariatric surgery can lead to improvements in medical conditions related to obesity, such as Type 2 Diabetes.